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Norgaard I 298
Def Utility/Axiomatic Utility Theory: ‘Utility’ in contemporary economics is perhaps most accurately understood as ‘that which represents a person's preferences’ (Broome 1991(1): 3) (see also Harsanyi 1977(2)). This is ‘axiomatic utility theory’, in which the concept of utility means nothing more and nothing less than the value taken by a function describing a person's preferences over a set of alternative goods and services. These preferences must conform to a set of axioms; hence axiomatic utility theory.


1. Broome, J. 1991. Utility. Economics and Philosophy 7: 1–12.
2. Harsanyi, J. C. 1977. Rational Behavior and Bargaining Equilibrium in Games and Social Situations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Dietz, Simon: “From Efficiency to Justice: Utility as the Informational Basis for Climate Strategies, and Some Alternatives”, In: John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, David Schlosberg (eds.) (2011): The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Axiomatic Utility Theory
Norgaard I
Richard Norgaard
John S. Dryzek
The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society Oxford 2011


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-09-21
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